English Camp. Our first experience with a real classroom.
Omg omg omg omg omg omg. I was so nervous. Leading up to camp, all I could think was “This is the WORST choice I’ve ever made! I’m not prepared enough and I’m terrified of the kids and I just- I CANNOT.” Everyone had to make their own lesson plan, but we had a group that we would stick with the whole day and while one person taught the rest of the group would observe and give feedback. Most people were in a group of three but I was one of the people in a group of two. Which meant I would have to teach an extra lesson both days. Yes, that doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re terrified, an extra 60 minutes is a LOT LOT LOT. What if they’re bored? What if they’re out of control? What if they hate me? What if I’m terrible?
And then we arrived at school and everything just sort of melted away.
These kids. They’re respectful, they’re adorable, and they make me incredibly happy. I had Prattom 4-6 which is ages 9-12. My topic was sports so I chose to teach them about basketball. We were in charge of making our own flashcards, so I took the liberty of making awesome ones. (Dribble, team and shoot)
My lesson was a hit and the kids were great! It was a bit harder to keep their attention in the afternoon classes because the kids were anxious to get out of there- but overall it was a great day. I had a BLAST and fell in love with the little kiddies.
I was more confident about my ability to get up and teach in front of a classroom of students now! But we switched up the age groups and Day 2 I had Prattom 1-3, the 6-8 year olds. After hearing feedback from the groups who had the kids on Day 1, I was extremely nervous. They were energetic and naughty, hard to manage and didn’t listen. Classroom management is what I have been the most worried about since starting this whole process and suddenly I’m getting the biggest test of all- being thrown into the lion’s den and it’s sink or swim. (Ok, I mixed analogies there but you get it.)
The kids were not terrible. They were the devil himself disguised as precious humans and I should’ve just run away instead of shown up. How can something that looks so sweet be SO AWFUL? There was virtually nothing to be done about them. Every single teacher was having an issue with these classes and every single teacher was getting similar results. I literally made them move their desks around so we could waste some time at one point.
It was one of the longest days of my life and it wasn’t fun at all. By lunch I was a sweaty disheveled mess and I had lost all of the enthusiasm and confidence that I had gained the previous day. I was exhausted and frustrated and it put me in a bad mood.
But a bad attitude doesn’t help anyone. It puts me in a bad mood and it sets me up for failure before I even begin. I have to remember that this is a job. There will always be bad days. Whether it be in a job you hate, a job you love, or within life in general. There is no escaping that and there never will be. It’s the good days that make it worth it- and I have to keep in mind that there will be many, many more good days than bad days ahead of me. There will always be shitheads and there will always be those who want to learn. Control isn’t a thing in Thailand. From a classroom to the rules of the road, chaos is the name of the game and while it has been drilled into us from Day 1- English Camp was a huge reality check. While Thailand offers the opportunity to teach young minds, it also offeres the opportunity to learn. But what I didn’t know, is that in addition to a new culture, language, and way of life I would also learn how to think on my feet, relinquish control, and roll with the ridiculous punches that come my way.
Here goes nothing I guess!